The first of India’s six C-130J Super Hercules airlifters, considered the world’s most advanced transport aircraft, purchased from the US in a $1 billion deal has been delivered to the Indian Air Force. The first plane was received at a ceremony at manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Georgia, facility Thursday by the Indian Defence & Military Attaché Brigadier Bhupesh Kumar Jain and Air Attaché Air Commodore J.S. Walia.Two of the planes will be flown to India in early 2011, while two more will arrive in early summer and the last two will be delivered in late summer of 2011. Two other aircraft are in flight test prior to deliveries and three more have now reached the final production positions at the Lockheed Martin Marietta facility.

India’s six stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s would provide the Indian Army and Indian Air Force “new special operations capabilities using the world’s most advanced airlifter”, according to Lockheed.Equipped with India-unique operational equipment, including an infrared detection set (IDS), the aircraft for the first time will provide the IAF an ability to conduct precision low-level flying operations, airdrops and landings in blackout conditions.

The C-130J primarily performs the tactical portion of an airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.The flexible design of the Super Hercules enables it to be configured for many different missions, allowing for one aircraft to perform the role of many. Much of the special mission equipment added to the Super Hercules is removable, allowing the aircraft to quickly switch between roles.The C-130J Super Hercules, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft, is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems.The aircraft can also be configured with the “enhanced cargo handling system”. The system consists of a computerised loadmaster’s station from where the user can remotely control the under floor winch.In addition the aircraft is equipped with air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations. Lockheed Martin will integrate this equipment and other capabilities into the Indian configuration as agreed between the governments.With this India joins the growing number of nations with C-130J fleets including the US, Australia, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. The C-130J carries eight 463L pallets, 97 medical litters, 24 CDS bundles, 128 combat troops and 92 paratroops.The Indian Air Force’s new Super Hercules will be the longer fuselage or “stretched” variant of the C-130J, similar to those being delivered to the US Air Force.An unidentified U.S. Air Force pilot walks past an U.S. Air Force C-130J’ Super Hercules’ transport plane in New Delhi. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft. File picture of a US Air Force Lockheed Martin-made C-130J Super Hercules at Le Bourget, north of Paris, during the 48th Paris Air Show. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting.

A US Air Force Lockheed Martin-made C-130J Super Hercules at the 48th Paris Air Show. The C-130 is also the only military aircraft to remain in continuous production for 50 years with its original customer, as the updated C-130J Super Hercules.

Backdropped by a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo airplane, left, an officer peers out of the cockpit of a US Air Force’s C-130J super Hercules to take pictures of a flight display overhead at the Farnborough aerospace show, in Farnborough, England. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 60 nations.

In the United States, the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Marine Corps and Coast Guard rely on the C-130J. International C-130J operators include the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy and Denmark with Norway and Canada. Now, India has also joined their ranks.

The C-130J Super Hercules can be flown with a flight crew of two and one loadmaster. There are four variants of the Super Hercules. They are: HC-130J Super Hercules, KC-130J Super Hercules, MC-130J Super Hercules and WC-130J Super Hercules.

Higher: The C-130J flies higher, climbs over the weather and has a 40% greater cruising altitude than the C-130H.

Farther: The C-130J flies much farther with less fuel, provides up to 40% greater range than the C-130H.

The Super Hercules transports 33 percent more payload, using half the crew, while burning less fuel and flying faster, farther and higher than its predecessors.

Faster: The C-130J is faster and climbs more quickly, offers 21% more speed. Time-to-climb is slashed by 50% over earlier model C-130s. With Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 engines and Dowty R391 six-bladed composite propellers, the Super Hercules operates in hot climates, handling short, high-elevation airstrips with maximum payload.

The cargo compartment is approximately 41 feet long, 9 feet high, and 10 feet wide, and loading is from the rear of the fuselage. Initially developed for the USAF, this system enables rapid role changes to be carried out and so extends the C-130J’s time available to complete tasks.These combined changes have improved performance over its C-130E/H siblings, such as 40 percent greater range, 21 percent higher maximum speed, and 41 percent shorter take-off distance.

To ensure 80 percent availability of the aircraft at any given time, Lockheed Martin has offered a long-term maintenance contract to the IAF on the lines of the ones it has with the US Air Force and the air forces of Australia, Britain and Canada.

The C-130J primarily performs the tactical portion of an airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.The flexible design of the Super Hercules enables it to be configured for many different missions, allowing for one aircraft to perform the role of many. Much of the special mission equipment added to the Super Hercules is removable, allowing the aircraft to quickly switch between roles.

The C-130J Super Hercules, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft, is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The aircraft can also be configured with the “enhanced cargo handling system”. The system consists of a computerised loadmaster’s station from where the user can remotely control the under floor winch.

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